For the past two years, Quesada has done an interesting thing at the IPCPR Convention & Trade Show. Starting in 2013, they raffled off the chance for retailers to have a custom cigar made using one of the company’s lines and rolled in whatever size they choose. Winning retailers would get 200 cigars in the form of 10 20-count boxes. In 2013 Binny’s Beverage Depot based out of Chicago, Ill. won the raffle, and its choice was to use the Oktoberfest blend and have a lancero rolled.

Quesada Oktoberfest Lancero Box 1

Quesada Oktoberfest Lancero Box 2

While lanceros might not be the most popular size in cigars, they are certainly some of the most sought after by a vocal minority of cigar smokers. This was an exciting choice by Binny’s not just because it was a lancero, but because the Oktoberfest line had not had a lancero released for it before or after this. With our love of lanceros here at halfwheel and the extremely limited nature of the release, we of course had to put this in the running for our holy grail week.

The Oktoberfest lineup currently has 10 different sizes between the yearly releases and the limited special releases.

Quesada Oktoberfest 2014

  • Oktoberfest Über (6 x 65) — $8.95 (Boxes of 20, $179.00) — 2011 — 1,000 Boxes of 20 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)*
  • Oktoberfest Bavarian (5 1/2 x 52) — $7.95 (Boxes of 20, $159.00) — 2011 — 1,000 Boxes of 20 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)*
  • Oktoberfest Das Boot (6 x 52) — $8.50 (Boxes of 20, $170.00)  — 2012 — 500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars)*
  • Oktoberfest Kaiser Ludwig (6 x 49) — $9.50 (Boxes of 20, $190.00) —2012 — 750 Boxes of 20 Cigars (15,000 Total Cigars)*
  • Oktoberfest Kurz (4 x 50) — $7.25 (Boxes of 20, $145.00) — 2012 — 500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars)*
  • Quesada Oktoberfest Krone (5 x 43) — $7.25 (Boxes of 20, $145.00) — 2013 — 500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars)
  • Quesada Oktoberfest Event Cigar (2013) (5 1/2 x 56) — 2013 — Event Only*
  • Quesada Oktoberfest Microblend Series Dunkel (6 x 54) — $8.95 (Boxes of 20, $134.25) — 2013 — 750 Boxes of 15 Cigars (11,250 Total Cigars)*
  • Quesada Oktoberfest Lancero (7 1/2 x 38) — n/a — 2013 — 10 Boxes of 20 Cigars (200 Total Cigars)*
  • Quesada Oktoberfest Salomon Press (6 3/4 x 50/33) — n/a — 2014 — Event Only

*Notes a limited edition size not part of 2014 production.

Quesada Oktoberfest Lancero 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Quesada Oktoberfest Lancero
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: Quesada Cigars
  • Wrapper: Dominican Republic (Cibao Valley)
  • Binder: Dominican Republic
  • Filler: Dominican Republic (Cuban Seed Criollo, Olor Viso & Ligero)
  • Size: 7 1/2 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 38
  • Vitola: Lancero
  • MSRP: n/a
  • Date Released: December 2013
  • Number of Cigars Released: 10 Boxes of 20 Cigars (200 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

The Oktoberfest Lancero has a deep chocolate color to it letting the 2013 version of the Oktoberfest band pop with the white, black, red, yellow and gold color scheme. The wrapper is a little rough and quite oily, but has the appearance of being stretched over the binder and filler, giving it a slightly bumpy look. Overall it is quite firm without any soft spots and looks to have really good construction, especially for a lancero. The aroma off the wrapper isn’t anything spectacular, with some barnyard, leather and a hint of cinnamon. The cold draw however is quite pleasant, with cedar, a hefty dose of grass and a touch of nuttiness.

The first third starts with some toasted oats, some black pepper and a nice kick of spices rounding it off. The draw is right in the middle of ideal, while the burn is almost as good, with just the slightest wave keeping it from being razor sharp and even. The ash holds on easily over an inch and was surprisingly stubborn dropping off even then. A little over an inch in the profile has developed a very delicate meaty note, adding to the toasted oats, black pepper and spices rolling around my tongue. On the retrohale, the smoothness surprises me, almost completely lacking black pepper and instead intensifying the toasted oats and meatiness. In fact, the retrohale is so smooth and mild that I can actually retrohale the entire draw.

Quesada Oktoberfest Lancero 2

Moving into the second third the toasted oats have slowly faded out, while the meatiness, black pepper and spices continue in an enjoyable fashion. The retrohale has taken on a slight bit of pepper giving it some kick, though the other notes have become more of a slightly musty, aged tobacco flavor that I’m more accustomed to seeing in much older cigars. Oddly enough the draw suddenly seized up getting quite tight, though a light pinch in the middle of what’s left seems to open it back up a bit. The burn has become slightly jagged, though not bad – it’s just surprising from the earlier burn line. After about an inch the draw opens up as suddenly as it tightened up.

Quesada Oktoberfest Lancero 3

The final third sees the return of the toasted oats, along with more of the meatiness, black pepper and spices. The burn line has returned to being quite sharp and even, while the draw continues to be ideal. In the last inch the pepper and meatiness increases, though not enough to overpower the toasted oats and spice. Smoking the cigar down to the very last bit before I burned my fingers, the smoke continued to be cool and smooth, even on the retrohale.

Quesada Oktoberfest Lancero 4

Final Notes

  • For those not in the Chicago area, Binny’s is a notable chain when it comes to alcohol and cigars.
  • In 2013, the store got another notable exclusive in the form of the Flor de las Antillas Toro Grande and last year received the Buenaventura BV654.
  • Unlike some lanceros, the Oktoberfest seems to be doing well with a slower smoking pace, not threatening to go out in the long breaks between draws.
  • Quesada normally has not made lanceros in the 7 1/2 x 38 size. For example, the España Lancero measures 7 x 38.
  • Two out of the three samples both experienced the same sudden seizure of the draw at right about the halfway mark, only lasting for about an inch before it opened back up. The third sample didn’t have that and in addition had a perfect burn from start to finish.
  • In 2014 the retailer that won the raffle was Cigar Emporium of Lyndhurst, N.J., and instead of choosing a new size for their cigar they chose the Oktoberfest Salomon Press, which had been rolled and put in a five-count box for events giveaways. Because of the raffle however, they received 10 20-count boxes of them instead.
  • Quesada has rolled small batches of small ring gauge cigars before, including the highly sought after Selección España Lancero and Ninfa, each only seeing 600 total cigars released. By comparison however, those small releases make the Oktoberfest Lancero release look virtually microscopic.
  • Unless a cigar is very well aged, I rarely find myself able to retrohale 100 percent of the draw, usually keeping it at 10-20 percent, even then getting a slight burning sensation from it. These brought no burning sensation and were quite enjoyable to retrohale.
  • The cigars for this review were provided to halfwheel by Binny’s Beverage Depot.
  • Quesada Cigars advertises on halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time averaged around two hours.
93 Overall Score

Here at halfwheel we’ve repeated over and over again that we love the lancero size, and sometimes a lancero size works in a blend and sometimes it doesn’t. Whether it was the high concentration of wrapper in the Oktoberfest blend, or the year that it’s had to rest, something really special happened with the Oktoberfest Lancero and it worked very well. It was a really enjoyable, solid profile that danced around just enough to keep my attention. Construction was ideal throughout the majority of the three samples, with only a couple of minor hiccups. Most impressive however was the retrohale, which was a pleasant surprise and I found myself doing so more with this cigar than any cigar I’ve smoked in recent memory. The unfortunate thing is that these are going to be virtually impossible to find, but rest assured if they do become available at some point in the future I’ll be one of the first in line to get them.

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Brian Burt

I have been smoking cigars since 2005 and reviewing them as a hobby since 2010. Initially, I started out small with a 50-count humidor and only smoking one or two cigars a month. Not knowing anybody else that smoked cigars, it was only an occasional hobby that I took part in. In March of 2010, I joined Nublive and Cigar Asylum, connecting me with many people who also shared an interest in cigars. Reading what they had to say about brands I had never heard of, I quickly immersed myself in the boutique brands of the industry and it was then that cigars transformed from a hobby into a passion.